Over five years ago, a group of students had a dream to transform an overgrown part of their school grounds into a beautiful garden that could be enjoyed by future students and help their wellbeing.
In 2017 their journey started with just £20. The students fundraised, designed, and created the garden with the support of Eikon staff and community volunteers. In July 2019, the Hopes and Dreams Garden officially opened, providing a space where students could volunteer and help create something beautiful for others to enjoy, all while learning new skills and making new friends.
Since then, student volunteers have continued to enjoy maintaining the garden together at weekly garden club sessions, including during the challenging COVID-19 years. In the last school year, over 100 students attended our garden club at Fullbrook School. This gave them a safe place to get involved with nature activities, relax, have fun and connect with others. We use the 5 Ways to Wellbeing – Connect, Learn, Active, Notice, and Give – to focus on how we can look after our own, and others wellbeing.
Our student gardeners continue to enjoy improving and expanding the garden spaces. They look to re-use materials where possible, and recognise the need to fundraise to support the garden space so it can continue to help young people.
“Throughout my time at Fullbrook as a student I enjoyed being heavily involved in the Garden Project. It’s really nice to see a garden used across the whole of Eikon. It’s so rewarding to see the growing numbers in garden clubs and how the garden is benefitting the young people.”
David, Eikon Volunteer
Garden Open Day
In July 2022, our student volunteers hosted their first garden open day, showing their families and friends what they have created. The gardeners planned for the open day months in advance, sharing their ideas about how to make it an enjoyable visit for guests of all ages. Tour guides also practiced so they could confidently and proudly show the guests around the garden.
At the open day, the young gardeners sold different plants they had propagated and gifts they hand made with items from the garden. There were games, a scavenger hunt, refreshments, and we even had a special guest appearance from our first hedgehog in the garden!
Our student volunteers were thrilled with the amount they fundraised to improve the garden spaces and get some specialist tools. These funds are also helping to enable new mini projects to get started now that students are back at school and in the garden.
“Utterly Amazing! Beyond my expectations! The garden is a wonderful space for all who come in and is clearly so beneficial for the young gardeners. I was shown around by two very enthusiastic guides.”
Guest at Garden Open Day
“Taking care of the garden reminds me to take care of myself.”
“Going in the garden can really help calm me down – I can help out or just relax.”
“Connecting with people makes me feel happy and less lonely.”
“I wrote a letter to my grandpa and put it on the bereavement tree, and when I come to Eikon, I can feel close to him.”
“Seeing animals is a good distraction because it stops my negative thoughts.”
“As a practitioner, I’m thankful to see the young people taking part in the gardening and really taking ownership.”
Do you have green fingers?
We’re looking for adult volunteers to help us a weekly garden clubs, or to provide ad-hoc help to maintain the garden. If you’re interested, please contact email@example.com for more information.
Can you help your community in another way?
We have a range of other volunteering opportunities, click here to find out more.
Want to help us support more young people with their wellbeing?
Click here to give a gift – any sized donation will help make a positive difference to a young person’s life.